Sixth grade English class, first day of school. I wore a purple t-shirt with two penguins printed on the chest I had so enthusiastically asked my mom for whilst school shopping. I liked penguins. The teacher told me to cover up because I was attracting too much attention. Later in private elaborating that too many of my male classmates were looking at the black and white birds displayed on my top.
This is the first time I was treated like an object to be molded rather than a human being.
My dear mother taught my sisters and I that fitting into a box was for woman too shy to be themselves. She taught us to wear the bright colors, to choose the mix matched socks, to buy daisy duke shorts and crop tops and strut them like we were made to be worshiped. My mother taught me to own my body.
Sophomore year of High School, last day of school. I was dressed in all black, walking to my waitressing job fifteen minutes from school when a middle aged man across the street whistled at me and called me sexy. When I angrily told my coworker, he told me I was asking for it. My barely developed teen body shivered as my cloths were suddenly too tight, wishing I had a blanket to wrap myself in to protect me from his stare.
We live in a world where short skirts and tight tops are seen as provocative while cat calls and labels are portrayed as normal.
Senior year, another day at work. A costumer walks in. I will never forget the red of her lips, the way her hair curled back from her face, the form of her body hugged in a black dress. The click of her heels as she approached the counter as if she was made to be there. She spoke the English language in a way that suggested it had been written all for her. When she left, the air was stale.
I promised myself that one day, I would own the room exactly the way that woman did.
Since the moment we learn to talk we woman are surrounded by voices telling us that we are not good enough. Our bodies are not thin enough. Our hair is not straight enough. Our clothes do not cover enough. Or our clothes cover too much. From the second we learn to walk we are groomed into perfect little misses, ushered into cages, taught that if we do not fit into a certain box we will not fit in anywhere.
My sixth grade teacher was a lady. Unknowingly, with only a quick instruction, she set a wheel in motion I was afraid would never stop rolling.
2019, 22 years old. I am still trying to unlearn what the world has forced down my throat since childhood by spoon feeding myself the teachings of a very wise woman. My mother. Her silent example the reason for my loud mouth and overflowing opinions.
Not every woman is lucky enough to have a mother as loud and colorful as mine. So many women are ushered into the darkness, into baggy clothes and fake smiles, believing this is the world they were meant to live in. These women sadly never get to learn what it means to exist freely in their bodies. So many women convinced there is nothing more to this life than the mold they were forced into.
I am here to help you become the woman you might have never known you even had the power to be. Wear the clothes you want. Weather those be the tight jeans and crop tops or the baggy dresses and sweaters. Cut your hair the way you want. Tell everyone exactly what you think. Open your mouth when people tell you to stay quiet.
Own every room you walk into, because this world is yours for the taking.